Al Kennedy's Migraine


20170719 (R4)
AL Kennedy talks to migraineurs and neurologists about this debilitating illness.

AL Kennedy talks to migraineurs and neurologists to explore the history and experience of a serious, though often misunderstood, condition which affects a billion people worldwide.

Migraine is ranked globally, by the World Health Organisation, as the seventh most disabling disease - responsible for 2.9% of all years of life lost to disability/YLDs - and the leading cause of disability among all neurological disorders.

AL Kennedy says, I find migraines fascinating. As a sufferer, they're hard to explain to non migraineurs. They aren't 'just a headache' and can even present as partial blindness. My first migraine was just that - a patch of total blindness in my left field of vision, which I was too shy to mention. Having compared notes, I find I'm not the only one to have had such an experience in adolescence.

Then came the auras, the pain, the disorientation, tingling, the trouble finding the right words for things, the misdiagnosis as a stroke. Some migraineurs are rushed to hospital with doctors suspecting serious strokes or brain tumours.

She looks at art made by migraineurs aged 7 to 70 and hears vivid accounts of the debilitating experience from a handful of sufferers.

Contributors include Britain's leading headache experts - Peter Goadsby, Mark Weatherall and child specialist, Prab Pabhakar from Great Ormond Street Hospital; founder of the Women's Headache Centre in Boston, Carolyn Bernstein; and historian Katherine Foxhall.

A Cast Iron Radio production for BBC Radio 4.